The ''gone sailing'' sign has been on the German Bakery cafe door, on and off, for the last three years.

The Kurzes have returned from their ''epic'' intermittent sailing adventure.

They've been sailing to the Pacific Islands and returning home to Waihi to work for the last three years with children Lina, 8, Mona, 7 and Kian, 4.

But now it's time to put down roots and make Waihi/Waikino their home again.
''The kids want a house again, they want a garden and pets. I guess they want more stability.''


Anni and Ron — who are from Germany and have been Waihi residents since 2011 — wanted to show their children a different life.

''We wanted to show them they don't have to be part of this rat-race. We don't all have to study hard, go to university and invest wisely etc — it's not all about working hard and making money. It's not for everybody,'' Anni says.

''We want them to know that they can make decisions in life that are different.

''You never know how long life is going to be and I feel it is important to follow the things that make us happy and interest us.''

The couple sold everything they owned, including their Waikino cottage to buy a boat. They invested in 46ft sail boat Luna C.

Ron was new to sailing. He learnt from Anni who is from a sailing family.

In early 2017 they shut the bakery and sailed the coast of the North Island for three months to find their sea legs.

Then they sailed to Tonga (eight days), Tonga to Fiji (four days) and Fiji to New Zealand (10-12 days) where they reopened the bakery.


They set off again mid 2018 to Fiji and back again. Then they sailed to Vanuatu in July this year, to New Caledonia and they've returned last month. The bakery is open again — for good — and the Kurzes will be renting a home soon.

Living on a boat with three small children for days at a time was huge, Anni says.

Someone always has to be awake working the boat. The pair worked in four-hour shifts throughout the day and night.

They anchored in bays and took their dingy to visit places. The idea was to immerse themselves in the culture, see things off the beaten track and expose their children to a non-westernised way of life.

''Our mission was to get in touch with local culture and the landscape and see things that are original. We also love marine life and biology.''

They loved visiting places where tourists tended not to visit.

''My favorite place was Vanuatu. We loved it because we'd meet these people who live a certain way and saw their attitude towards consuming. It's less westernised. They're very proactive with the environment and so far ahead of us. We can all learn from their attitude.''

Anni says journeying from land to sea has been a huge adjustment for the children.

''They have learn some pretty awesome things, they are such sponges. It's been highly educational. They know how to do things like drive a dingy and pull apart an outboard motor. They know so much more about the world.''

But the children want to live on dry land again.

Ron's a little conflicted about being back on land and in an ideal world, he'd prefer to be back on the boat.

''Am I pleased to be home? Yes and no,'' he says.

Anni and Ron haven't closed the door on sailing altogether.

''We will find another way to do sailing,'' Anni says.